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Tue June 25, 2013
Who is the "Silver Pharoah"? Secrets of the Dead airs on Wednesday, July 3rd at 9 pm
The royal tomb of Pharaoh Psusennes I is one of the most spectacular of all the ancient Egyptian treasures - even more remarkable than that of Tutankhamen. So why hasn’t the world heard about it? What mysteries does it contain? And what does it reveal about ancient Egypt? The tomb was discovered filled with lavish jewels and treasure almost by accident in 1939 by the French archaeologist Pierre Montet while he was excavating in northern Egypt. The royal burial chamber came as a complete surprise – no Egyptologist had anticipated a tomb of such grandeur in this area. Unfortunately, the tomb was found on the eve of World War II in Europe and attracted little attention. One of the most startling discoveries inside the tomb was the sarcophagus in which the body was held: It was made of silver with exquisite detail and craftsmanship. No other silver sarcophagus has ever been found and it is now recognized by many Egyptologists as one of the most exquisite artifacts of ancient Egypt ever to be found. The elaborate tribute within the tomb suggested it was the burial site of someone very important but as archaeologists, using the hieroglyphs inside the tomb, pieced together the identity of the pharaoh, they were left to wonder who Psuesennes I was and why he received such grand treatment. The investigation reveals political intrigue, a lost city and a leader who united a country in turmoil and became the Silver Pharaoh.
"The Silver Pharoah" on Secrets of the Dead can be seen on Wednesday, July 3rd at 9:00 p.m. on channels 3 and 3-1.